Mikael Damberg, one of 8 politicians featured in "Den Engagerade Läraren". Photo:Henrik Montgomery/Scanpix

Swedish politicians share school memories

"Spelling for me was a real problem"
4:52 min

Some look back on their school days as "the best days of their lives". For others, it was a time they wish to forget. But what about Sweden's politicians? A new book, "The Engaged Teacher" (Den Engagerade Läraren), features the memories from school of eight politicians and their thoughts on what makes a good teacher.

"You might think that politicians all had a happy school experience and no problems at all, but as you can read in the book, it wasn't like that at all. There were some quite strong stories, but what they all talk about, is how a teacher can make a difference," Bo Jansson, President of the National Union of Teachers in Sweden tells Radio Sweden.

The book, by Christer Isaksson, in cooperation with the National Union of Teachers, features eight politicians: Sweden Democrat leader Jimmy Åkesson, Hans Linde of the Left party, Social Democrat, Mikael Damberg, Emma Henriksson of the Christian Democrats, Anna Kinberg Batra of the Moderate Party, Green Party leader Gustav Fridolin, Birgitta Ohlsson of the Liberals and Anna-Karin Hatt of the Centre Party.  

"I had some years that were really difficult, with friends, and I think that is an experience that I share with a lot of kids, both then and today," says Emma Henriksson.

Mikael Damberg, the parliamentary group leader of the Social Democrats, enjoyed his time at school but had real problems with spelling." It was a good time for me, I had good teachers but I had some problems with spelling and it was only many years afterwards, when I started reading books, that it all fell into place."  

All eight politicians featured in the book, praised the efforts of a favourite teacher, and write of the need for teachers today to be given the time to teach.

But with low status and pay, recruiting students into the teaching profession today is a real problem, says Bo Jansson at the National Union of Teachers.

"As we can see what is happening now in Sweden, there is a lack of interest for students to become teachers; for many it is not their first choice at all and that has to change completely, and in some subjects it is a desperate situation."

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